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The offer of free personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline health and social care staff in England has been extended for another year, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced.

Following a public consultation where an “overwhelming majority” of respondents (95 percent) said free PPE should be extended for a further year, NHS trusts, primary care and adult social care providers will continue to receive COVID-19 PPE free of charge until 31 March 2023 or until infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance is withdrawn or significantly amended. This is to ensure staff and their patients are protected.

The UK Government is also developing an improved platform for the procurement of PPE that will be quicker and easier to use. Health and social care providers have been invited to test-drive the new platform and help design a service that works best for them. The new and improved features will enable quick ordering options and status updates, according to DHSC.

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Free, centrally procured PPE relieves the financial burden of PPE procurement done on an individual basis, and also enables access to quality PPE of a reliable standard.

Health Minister Edward Argar said: “Throughout the pandemic we have taken swift action to secure the PPE health and social care providers need to ensure staff, patients and residents are protected.

“We are extending the offer of free PPE to help relieve pressure on the health and care system, working hand in hand with providers to develop a new ordering platform that works best for them.”

Following customer testing and trial launch, the new PPE portal will be rolled out to all eligible users from April.

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